Multiple Problems with old Cherry Laurel

Asked December 21, 2018, 3:58 PM EST

A property that I care for in Westminster has what was once a very impressive cherry laurel as a foundation planting. Unfortunately, I have been gone for a month and the laurel has been beset by insects and fungal problems. I have collaged multiple photos for there are several issues. I am wondering if there is any PHC that can be employed or if this laurel is on its way out. There are apparent insect nests - tent catipillars as my first guess - and they have done apparent damage to the foliage. There was also plenty of dead growth that I had thinned out as part of the suspected culprit for the various fungal problems that are evident. Fruiting bodies, sap, and odd patterns on the pith are present. It's nearly a 14 foot laurel so I know it's bound to have problems, but the homeowner is thinking that if it can't be saved, it's time for a replacement.

Carroll County Maryland insect issues shrubs plant care

1 Response

It looks like this cherry laurel has symptoms of peach tree borer damage. Unfortunately, this is a common problem with these plants. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/borers-trees

There are no sprays that are effective for controlling or mitigating this problem. If you see signs of damage/sap at the base of the plant, your only option would be to remove and replace it. If the base of the plant looks healthy, you can prune and thin the plant down to good, healthy wood and allow new growth to generate and fill in. Cherry laurels can tolerate severe pruning.

ckc